Audio-video from behind enemy lines
ULM Coach Todd Berry talks about the challenge Alabama presents on the Official Warhawk Report
The Warhawk Wednesday soundcloud stream reviews the Warkhawks' first two games of the season, including a ghastly 51-14 beating by UGA, and looks back at the catastrophic 2007 game.
Told you, the defense played pretty well.
"All in all, other than those few plays, which we have to be eliminate — they have to be eliminated with fundamental execution and communication — it wasn't terrible," Saban said of the pass defense. The numbers are deceiving because of those two plays. Kelly was just 16 of 31 for 202 yards with only one touchdown on his other passes.
To Swag's .500 passing game, add the numerous pressures, the three sacks, and four batted balls at the LOS. There were some issues, but that's to be expected with a secondary that had as many as three true freshmen playing in dime packages. In either event, the defense is much better than it was a year ago.
Three games in, and SEC teams still face many questions
It is fine for fans to fret, even to excess. Saban, who for most of the last eight years has tried to keep his team from listening to talk of how great they are, has a unique challenge this week. He has to keep them from believing how terrible they are. The truth usually falls somewhere short of the rhetoric, in either direction. For most of the season, he’s taken up for one player, kicker Adam Griffith, who was a positive against Ole Miss. Now, almost all — coaches and players — are hearing some grumbles.
Cecil makes a good point -- for the first time in Saban's tenure, the veneer of omnipotence with which he was treated is starting to wear off. To that I would add this season, among the last several, is the one where fans should perhaps question the least. There are answers to be found, but for reasons of youth or transitioning, we may not like the solutions.
McElroy believes the quarterback situations have improved at a number of SEC schools since this point a year ago. He cites No. 3 Ole Miss, No. 8 LSU, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida as examples. "Is it really an epidemic?" McElroy asked. "Or is it just a matter of perception and us becoming a little bit too overzealous with our praise going into the season, especially with that of Jeremy Johnson at Auburn?"
First, no s***, Greg. Who helped lead the charge for August Heisman Winner, Jeremy Johnson? You did. Second, it's hard to say that the teams he lists have found "answers" this season.
The Hogs' Allen has looked worse this year; Dobbs has been the unquestioned leader of the Vols' offense since last season, so you can't say this is a development; Towles was the man at Kentucky last year as well, much like Dobbs at UT; Treon Harris was a starter last season at Florida, and clearly the best of a bad bunch; and, we simply don't know about Brandon Harris at LSU -- Fournette punishing the thin defensive lines of Mississippi State and Auburn tells us nothing.
The only quarterbacking question answered to any satisfactory degree has been at Ole Miss.
The perception is correct -- at USC, Alabama, UGA, LSU, Auburn there may be "starters" but we don't know how they'll hold up when needed, whether they're really a long-term solution, or whether they can make plays when the running game fails.
After three weeks, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is no elite in the SEC; no team that can run through the conference unbeaten and sit alone atop the College Football Playoff poll. Are you really going all-in with Ole Miss, whose quarterback, Chad Kelly, is the same guy who was kicked off the Clemson team for fighting with coaches? The same guy who, even his new coach Hugh Freeze admits, "You know, he might be a ticking time bomb, but thus far, he has not been. Chad seems to be really grounded."
Speaking of Swag, the question isn't whether Kelly loses his marbles and explodes, it's whether the Rebels can stay healthy until mid-January. After their first SEC bout, Ole Miss' injuries are piling up.
As for "elite," there are elite teams in the conference, but if you predicate "eliteness" upon "going undefeated" it does a disservice to the counterpart of the SEC's main argument - the strength of schedule. Almost no one is going undefeated in the SEC.
In the past decade, 2008 Alabama, 2009 Florida, 2011 LSU, Auburn 2014 have been the only teams to blast through the conference slate without a blemish -- with the exception of one of those teams, the other three lost either the SECCG or a bowl appearance. Demanding a 12-0 record seems a bit silly.
Derrick Henry was limited in Tuesday's practice and was held out of Wednesday's with an illness. The issue is a case of tonsillitis, coach Nick Saban said Wednesday evening. He said he probably could have practiced Wednesday. "But rather than take a chance, we did not practice him today," Saban said. "But we expect him to be back tomorrow."
Get better, El Tractorcito. I understand Sun Belt teams make the best lozenges.
Defensive back Jabriel Washington was back doing drills with the secondary after being injured in practice before the opener.
Richard Mullaney and Calvin Ridley lead receiver lines in the first practice since Robert Foster's shoulder injury. ArDarius Stewart was in the second wave, but it's hard to draw much from that. Just an observation.
It looks like Stewart was demoted in the passing line (on Wednesday, anyway.) TBH, he probably shouldn't be the go-to guy at this point. He has incredible potential, but isn't able to bear the weight of the passing offense going through him yet. Where is Chris Black? May we see Cam Sims this week? What about Daylon Charlot?
Pride goeth before the fall
"I was just kind of lost," said Johns. "Did this really happen? I just didn't get it." Alabama got the ball back two more times, and even advanced the ball to ULM's 18-yard line on one drive, but turned the ball over on downs. The Tide outgained ULM 409-282, but lost the most important statistic category: Turnovers. Alabama didn't force a single turnover yet coughed up four off two interceptions and two fumbles. "You turn the ball over four times, you're not going to win the game," said Wilson.
ULM players and coaches relive Charlie Weatherbie's finest moment, an Alabama "never again" game, and generally depress you over the next 1200 words. The narrative seems to be "that loss propelled a dynasty," which is false. The signing of Julio Jones, and the recruiting levee breaking, propelled the start of a dynasty.
Four-star JUCO shooting guard Ar'Mond Davis from College of Southern Idaho has committed to Alabama, per his Twitter account. Davis took an official visit to Tuscaloosa over the weekend. He becomes the second commitment in the 2016 class joining five-star guard Terrance Ferguson.
With the loss of Kobie Eubanks, Alabama needed another world-class shooter. Juco help is on the way.
Alabama landed a verbal from one of the nation’s most versatile defensive backs Wednesday in Roswell (Ga.) High’s 2017 standout Xavier McKinney.
We'll have more on this one latter, but McKinney will be a great asset to a young secondary that is unafraid to start 'em young.
Ball is life
The Alabama men’s basketball team will hold open tryouts for any currently enrolled students who may be interested in walking on to the men’s basketball team. The tryouts will be held in the men’s basketball practice gym, located near the rear entrance of Coleman Coliseum, on Tuesday, Sept. 30. Check in will begin at 6 a.m. CT with warmups and tryouts beginning at 6:30 a.m. CT.
Do you have any eligibility left? Hit Coleman Coliseum next Tuesday at an ungodly 6:30 in the morning and show Coach Johnson what you've got.
Despite Mayweather-Pacquiao's record-breaking ratings, Pacquiao looked long past his prime and the fight didn’t live up to the hype. Mayweather claims his dominating victory over Andre Berto earlier this month was his last. But it's likely that American boxing hasn't seen the last of its woman-battering standardbearer: Few people believe Mayweather, now 49-0, will quit the sport for good before breaking his current tie with Marciano for the longest unbeaten streak in professional boxing history.
Wilder's fans think he's the last, best chance to save American boxing: the anti-Mayweather -- the kind of charismatic, likeable, underdog hero the sport needs. On Saturday, he will defend his title live on NBC, and become the first heavyweight to do so on primetime broadcast television since before he was born
I honestly feel like when Floyd retires, the boxing world will be depending and eyeing and looking at Deontay Wilder," said Damarius "Cuz" Hill, one of Wilder's trainers. "I will be that guy to change this sport, especially in the heavyweight division," Wilder said. "A lot of people have lost interest. I’m the right man for the job … I want to make it bigger and better than it ever have been before." But if Wilder is going to succeed, people are going to have to know who he is.
Fantastic live form on Deontay, who will defend his belt on primetime, broadcast television in about three decades. An Alabama treasure.